April 22 The federal judge overseeing Detroit's
historic bankruptcy case tapped a top restructuring official at
Phoenix Management Services on Tuesday to help the court
determine if the city's plan to adjust its $18 billion of debt
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes also named Richard
Ravitch as a consultant to the court on municipal finance
matters. Ravitch, who advised New York City during its fiscal
crisis in the 1970s and who had served as a New York State
lieutenant governor, agreed to consult for free and will not be
required to testify in the case, according to the judge's order.
Martha Kopacz, a senior managing director at Phoenix
Management Services in Boston, beat out four other applicants,
including Ravitch, for the position of expert witness.
In his appointment order, Rhodes said Kopacz will also
determine whether Detroit's assumptions regarding cash-flow
projections and forecasts of revenue, expenses and plan payments
Kopacz has a June 24 deadline to submit her report to the
judge and will be available for depositions and to testify in
the city's bankruptcy case, according to the order.
Rhodes on Monday moved the date for the confirmation hearing
on the plan to July 24 from a previously scheduled July 16.
Detroit filed the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S.
history in July 2013 and in recent days has reached settlements
with several major creditor groups. U.S. Judge Gerald Rosen, the
chief mediator in the case, on Monday ordered the city and
certain bondholders and bond insurance companies into mediation
sessions over Detroit's limited tax general obligation bonds as
well as water and sewer department matters.
The city faces a Friday deadline to send the court another
revision of a key supporting document for its plan ahead of a
The so-called disclosure statement lays out a history of
Detroit's fiscal woes and details how creditors, including city
retirees and bondholders, would fare under the debt adjustment
Kopacz has more than 30 years of experience in consulting
and restructuring for companies, nonprofit groups, public sector
entities and others, according to her resume. She served as an
adviser to the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority, a New
York State oversight board created in the wake of the county's
Other expert witness applicants interviewed by Rhodes last
Friday included William Brandt Jr. of Development Specialists in
Chicago; Peter Hammer, a law professor at Wayne State
University; and Dean Kaplan, managing director of PFM Group of
Philadelphia, which has advised on financial restructuring in
Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and also worked with the Detroit
(Reporting By Karen Pierog; editing by Gunna Dickson)